New Year Message (2019)
Eph. 2:10, 5:8
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
New Year has come and once more everyone is excited. New year to most people is a new beginning. They want a fresh start, looking forward for better things, if possible, in all walks of life.
New year’s resolution is a very popular talk. I like people wanting to change for the better. My workplace motto is “continuous improvement” and though improvements are a bit slow, something is happening and indeed the company is improving. For most people, New Year’s resolution is the
start of getting better, for some it’s just a quick fix which would not last long and ends in failure and disappointment. Why? Because they never include The Lord Jesus Christ in their plan. Today I would give some suggestions so we can end up victorious this year.
Illustration 1: Invocation for New Year
Notice that every one of the nine “Church Epistles” in the New Testament begins with the same invocation: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” From such a heart as Paul’s it was no mere wish, but an earnest, loving prayer.
It is always appropriate, and particularly so at the incoming of a new year. There are three great truths comprised in it, namely, the fatherhood of God, the lordship of Christ, and the true blessing of the Christian believer. It will mean much if we enter the new year with these great truths in mind.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
Illustration 2: Throwing Out the Old
Those inventive people, the Italians, have a custom. As midnight on New Year’s Eve approaches, the streets are clear. There is no traffic; there are no pedestrians; even the policemen take cover. Then, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open. To the sound of laughter, music and
fireworks, each member of the family pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalogue of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds. —House & Garden
The same is happening in Singapore. The Chinese will throw away old furniture, utensil, electronic items like radios, TV, calculators, etc., and other belonging which they think causes misfortunes to the delight of the Malays, Thais, Indians, Filipinos, etc., who are willing to take free items which they think is still useful, thereby saving lots of money.
I. Walk closer to the Lord.
A. Walk in the Scriptures often denotes how we live, how we act. How you conduct yourself. There are many ways on how to “walk” in the Bible but I honestly think that the Lord really wants us to walk closer to Him as children of light (Eph. 5:8)
1. To walk closer to the Lord means to have fellowship with Him. We are aware of His divine presence and we are in spiritual communion with Him (Amos 3:3). Just like lovers who hold each other’s hands, intimacy, agreement, and care is there.
2. Walking closer means talking to him regularly through prayers (Ps. 55:17, 1 Thess. 5:17) and to listen to His words through Bible reading (Prov. 8:33, Rom. 10:17). Let’s not do all the talking but learn how to listen.
3. Walking closer with God means to live a Godly and Holy life in the midst of the corrupt people around us even if it means standing alone. I would include here having fellowship with people whom you share the same belief and conviction, like those in the church. That includes going to church regularly.
4. To walk with God is to have faith in Him and to His promises trusting Him at all times. Christian walk is by faith only 2 Cor. 5:7.
a. By faith we believe things we cannot see for now. We believe it because the Bible says so.
b. I cannot see heaven now. I cannot see the mansions mentioned by the Lord,
but I look forward that when the time comes, I will be there.
c. Like Abraham, we Christians look forward to a city not made by hands
whose builder is God (Heb. 11:10).
d. Things may be difficult now and everywhere we see evil, corruptions, pain,
sufferings, sickness, poverty, dangers, misery, death, etc., but by faith, we
know that it is only temporary and when the Lord Jesus Christ comes, he will
make all things right. He will wipe away all our tears.
5. To walk with God is to serve Him continuously and do this that will please Him. It is said that Enoch walked with God for 300 years.
6. To walk with God is to do things that will please Him. In Heb. 11:5 we are told that Enoch has a testimony that pleased God. Is God pleased the way we are a living now. I know some brothers and sisters who would rather die that disobey the Lord and commit sin.
B. Walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-21)
1. Walk in the Spirit here means to live according to the guidance, direction, and influence of the Holy Spirit.
2. Those who do not walk in the spirit are considered carnal or fleshy.
3. The Christian should avoid sins listed in Gal. 5: 19-21. Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings.
C. Walk in wisdom (Col. 4:5).
1. Walk in wisdom is, to act wisely, upright and honest. To deal with the
unbelievers on the strictest principles of integrity, so that they may not have occasion to reproach Christianity.
2. Do not be a stumbling block to your fellow men whether Christian or non-
3. Make the most of your time to win souls for Christ.
D. Walk in love (Eph. 5:2)
A. Let your lives be characterized by love
B. The first commandment is to love God first and then love our neighbours
C. We must love our enemies also. (Ex. 23:4-5; 2 Kings 6:22; Mt. 5:44; Rom
12:14,20; 1 Pet. 3:9)
II. Be Contented (Heb. 13:5)
A. To be contented means to be satisfied, not needing more.
B. Be satisfied of what you have. The Word of God says we have to be content of:
1. In our respective callings. 1 Cor. 7:20
2. With our appointed wages. Lk. 3:14
3. With what things we have. Heb. 13:5
4. With food and raiment. 1 Tim. 6:8
C. God’s promises should lead us to be contented. Heb. 13:5
Illustration: “The Happiest People On Earth?”
An English newspaper asked its readers this question: “Who are the happiest people on Earth?”
These were the four prize-winning answers: A craftsman or artist whistling over a job well done. A little child building sand castles. A mother, after a busy day, bathing her baby. A doctor who has finished a difficult and dangerous operation and saved a human life.
No millionaires among these, one notices. No kings or tycoons. Wealth and position, no matter how the world strives for them, are not the things most people—in their wisdom, we might add— consider the essential quality of happiness.
Content makes poor people rich, discontent makes rich men poor. (Benjamin Franklin).
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
III. Be thankful. (Phil. 4:6)
A. Thanksgiving is a command both in the Old and New Testament. (Ps. 50:14; Ph. 4:6).
B. The Word of God says it’s a good thing. Ps. 92:1
C. Our thanksgiving must be made in the name of Christ. Eph. 5:20
D. We are to give thanks in everything. 1 Thess. 5:18. Everything means in not only before taking foods but also during good times, difficult times, in sickness or in health, in prosperity or in want, in any situation we are in.
Illustration: Thankfulness—A Lost Art Today
Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and
Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him. (Our Daily Bread February 20, 1994 )
What I have written are just a few among the important things which we have to do so we can live victoriously and well not only this new year but for the rest of our lives. Walking closer with the Lord Jesus Christ should always be on the top of our list, be contended, and then be thankful.